US finalizing plans to send approximately 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, two US officials say

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The US is finalizing plans to send about 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, two US officials familiar with the deliberations told CNN.

The Biden administration’s announcement to send U.S.-made tanks could come as early as this week, CNN reported on Tuesday. Officials said it was not yet known when the tanks would actually be delivered, and training troops to use them effectively would normally take months.

The U.S. will also send a small number of recovery vehicles, one of the officials said. A recovery vehicle is a tracked vehicle used to help tanks be repaired on the battlefield or moved off the battlefield for service and maintenance at another location.

The pending announcement appears to have resolved a diplomatic impasse with Germany over the supply of tanks to Ukraine. German authorities openly leopard 2 tank A system repeatedly stated by US officials would be overly complex and difficult to maintain if the US sent M-1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

The US decision to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine would allow Germany to send its own tanks and pave the way for other European countries to authorize sending more German-made Leopards. It is a sudden change from that stated position. 2 tanks as well.

Senior national security officials in the administration have actively considered means to persuade Germany to send leopards.

At a meeting of Western defense leaders in Germany on Friday, the United States and its allies failed to convince German officials to send German officials as part of the upcoming military aid to Ukraine in Berlin. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said of tanks, “We are preparing to make a decision and that decision will be made soon.”

Later on Tuesday, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reported: decided to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine after ‘months of debate’.

CNN has reached out to the German government for comment.

The Biden administration has never considered the possibility of shipping the full U.S. tank fleet, but U.S. officials last week publicly said it wasn’t the right time to ship the 70-ton M1 Abrams tank. said. training to operate.

Instead, tanks repeatedly emerged as a long-term option.Critics say it’s the right time as Ukraine prepares for the possibility of Russia mobilizing more troops and launching a new offensive. said.

The decision to send U.S.-made Abrams tanks will depend on an “iterative process” of assessing Ukraine’s needs, the appropriate aid for the U.S. to send, and technical considerations for tank operations and maintenance, the state said. Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said. he said on Tuesday night.

“Abrams talked about the fact that it’s an incredibly capable system, but it’s a very expensive system to operate and maintain,” Kirby told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”

“It has a jet engine. That doesn’t mean that Ukrainians can’t learn it. It’s a system that we can offer them that we have to take into account all those things. It just means it won’t,” he added.

Kirby acknowledged that the complexity of the Abrams system could influence the U.S. decision to share tanks with Ukraine, saying, “With an advanced system, considerations like supply chains and maintenance times need to be taken into account. There is,” he added.

sky news arabic report first News that the US is considering sending tanks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has consistently called on Western allies for modern tanks as the country prepares for a major Russian counterattack expected in the spring.

The UK has already announced that it will send 12 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, crossing what was previously thought to be a red line for the US and its European allies. An announcement by the US that it would send tanks would put more pressure on Germany as it decides whether to allow the transfer of the leopards. There are thought to be about 2,000 in Europe, Poland made a formal request to Berlin on Tuesday Approve the transfer of some leopards to Ukraine.

Any announcement will be a long-term contribution for Abrams. That means the Ukrainians won’t be putting them on the ground any time soon, as training and maintenance frameworks are in place, a former defense official with knowledge of the deliberations told CNN. For now, the pending announcement by the US is to make Germany more comfortable offering its own tanks.

“These are not tanks that will hit the ground next week or next month,” said the former official.

Given last week’s announcement of a $2.5bn drawdown in US equities to Ukraine, this announcement is unlikely to result in another drawdown. Instead, the supply of tanks to Ukraine could come from new contracts under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), or from refurbishments of his M-1 Abrams tanks from other countries like Poland. there is. It insists on sending tanks to Ukraine.

Either scenario would give the United States time and space to acquire, train, and equip Ukraine with tanks that are operationally complex. The Ukrainian army is already training on many new advanced systems. That list includes training on the Patriot missile, the British Challenger 2 tank, the M109 howitzer, and the recent start of combined arms training in Germany.

The tank is the most powerful direct-attack weapon ever offered to Ukraine, a heavily armed system designed to fight the enemy head-on rather than firing from a distance. If properly trained and used properly, it could enable Ukraine to retake territory against Russian forces that had time to dig a defensive line. The U.S. began supplying her modified Soviet-era T-72 tanks, but modern Western tanks are a generation ahead in terms of their ability to target enemy positions.

Pentagon and White House officials deny that the risk of escalation with Russia has anything to do with the US decision to delay the decision to send tanks. How difficult it would be to operate and maintain the Abrams tank, and how effective it would be on the Ukrainian battlefield.

“This is a very different system than the generation of tanks they operate today,” retired Army Major General Patrick Donahoe, former commander of the Army Mobility Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, said last week on CNN. told to “So we have to have a massive training program in place with their army. It’s not even possible. ”

This headline and story have been updated with additional developments.

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